In studies such as these with huge intersubject variability, and probably also quite large intrasubject variability from day to day on many scales, it makes sense to look at change from baseline for individuals in the various groups rather than just differences in raw scores between treatment groups.
It seems by a cursory glance that most analyses done were of the latter kind, and I think then a study such as this, with low N, is expected to not show very much effect of any kind. (Since the intersubject variability and potentially also the natural intrasubject variability for most measured scales seem higher than any expected treatment effect).
I am almost certain that e.g. none of the approved and quite convincingly working SSRI:s would have shown any efficacy in a study with this design and similar N.
I don't see how this may be relevant to the usefulness of microdosing.
- Assume that a microdose either improves an outcome, or does nothing. Then, averaged over a large group, such random improvements would lift the group's outcome a little. It's a microdose worth taking.
- Assume that a microdose can both improve and worsen the outcome, or have no effect. If the experimental group's averaged results are indistinguishable from the control group's averaged results, it means that the microdose worsens the outcome about as often and / or as much as it improves it. This, to me. means that a microdose is a gamble not worth taking.
There is, of course, a difference between a microdose having no effect at all, or having an effect which can be either positive or negative. This difference is important for further research. For usage here and now, it's sadly irrelevant.
If a microdose only works when the person taking it knows it works, then it's basically the placebo effect. A good placebo can be useful, at least for commercial purposes.
>This, to me. means that a microdose is a gamble not worth taking.
This has always been the problem with psychedelics as a therapeutic approach. It's hard to reconcile being a responsible clinician and recommending a therapy with such mixed and often-negative results. They are in charge of a person's mental well-being in a way that people evangelizing psychedelic therapy don't seem to properly appreciate. If a patient is interested in that therapy, they might be a better candidate, but even then... if the results aren't great it's hard to justify.
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with psychedelics for personal use, and I've seen them do wonderful things for people. But I've also seen them do horrific things to people and I feel like a lot of young people have a great trip and then immediately conclude that literally every human being NEEDS to go out and trip without any more consideration. That same sort of evangelism carries over to the microdosing realm. It may have a place! But personally, I've tried it with psiolocybin, and I found that typical microdoses have a very detrimental effect on my ability to focus.
Keep in mind this is study is evaluating the claims that microdosing lead to specific outcomes such as enhanced wellness and cognitive enhancements, which people seek out while microdosing. That's different from using strong doses of psychedelics to, say for example, break entrenched thought patterns (addiction, depression, OCD).
In the former case, a positive outcome is expected and therefore negative outcomes are in a sense less tolerable, especially since a false positive would lead to people repeatedly microdosing over an extended period of time, to their long-term detriment.
In the latter case, a "negative experience" does not preclude getting the desired results. And an acute negative experience in a one-time dose may be tolerable when contrasted with the long-term severity of the pathology it is meant to treat.
As far as I know experiments of CBT + psychedelics have shown very promising results for treating PTSD and certain kinds of depression, specially in people that are about to die and need to come to terms with that.
These are not microdosing experiments though. The usual way it is handled is that you get a few weeks of CBT then you get half a dose and the following week you get a full dose followed by more weeks of CBT. There is no placebo effect here that's possible because, well, it is impossible for someone to believe they have taken a full dose of pscychodelic drugs and not feel anything. But you still have a control in this case because you have a group that goes through CBT and another group that goes through CBT + drugs.
In fact, from these studies there have been very little "bad trips", mostly I guess because you have the half-dose session and then the full dose session in a very controlled environment and so on. These experiments are obviously done quite responsibly.
So I think you're mixing things up a little bit and I would suggest doing a little more research in the topic. Psychodelic therapy, at least the kind that is being explored seriously is not really done through microdosing.
Just a small note but my understanding is that “CBT” aka cognitive behavioral therapy is a specific form of therapy, while most research around psychedelic assisted therapy centers around traditional talk therapy rather than a more specific technique.
> There is no placebo effect here that's possible because, well, it is impossible for someone to believe they have taken a full dose of pscychodelic drugs and not feel anything.
From what I recall, a low dose of methylphenidate is used as a control in many studies because it has some of the same side effects without the trip. For psychedelic-naive people who don’t really know what to expect, I could see it being an ok control. Once you’ve experienced a single high-dose trip though… yeah… you’re never going to trick someone with it.
Just because you know for sure you got the drug DOES NOT mean "no placebo effect is possible" (!)
That just means you can't possibly have a proper control. BIG difference.
I wonder how much of this is true for therapy in general. When I've looked into it, the evidence for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a lot less than I would have expected, and there seems to be some question about how much of its effect is due to the placebo effect. This study on microdosing makes the point that if an experiment isn't double-blind - if the researchers know what is the placebo and what isn't - than this will have an impact on the results (and they seem to think this is the reason their double-blind experiment got different results). But I'm not sure it's possible to have double blind experiments when it comes to therapy (someone correct me if I'm wrong), and would likely make many single-blind studies of therapy appear more useful.
If the natural variability is high enough, then any effect will be hidden by it. Sure, we can say with some certainty that the effect of microdosing on most scales are not that huge. But we wouldn't have expected very large effect sizes anyway, because they are almost unheard off. (Unless the subjects become really severely impaired)
And there may still be meaningful treatment effects, at least judging by current standard of care for many psychiatric ailments and how those have performed in studies.
Again, I'm quite confident that the effect of many current psychiatric standard of care treatments would never have been picked up by this study. Not because they don't work (at least somewhat), but simply because there is too much noise and natural variability.
If the observed effect of an intervention does not rise above the background variance it means that the intervention does not do what you want it to do.
Either (1) it has no effect or (2) the strength and direction of the effect are random. Either of those qualities renders the intervention ineffective. You can’t justify giving a patient something that will have no effect, or will make them worse off half of the time when there are more effective options are on the table.
Of course this is comes with the caveat that the study is adequately powered to detect the strength of the effect you are looking for. That being said, there is plenty historical data for the placebo, so I don’t think that being underpowered because of misestimation of the background variance would be an issue.
Quite confident but utterly wrong.
As has been pointed out to you several times.
Science does not and cannot work by cherry picking.
> it makes sense to look at change from baseline for individuals in the various groups rather than just differences in raw scores between treatment groups.
That’s called cherry picking. Results are always noisy. You could give two groups of people the same tests on different days without any drugs at all and some subset would show “improvement”. If you start focusing on the individuals that show the result you want to see, you cherry-pick your way into false results.
This is a well-known way for researchers to abuse variable or noisy data sets to misleadingly show the result they want to show.
> I am almost certain that e.g. none of the approved and quite convincingly working SSRI:s would have shown any efficacy in a study with this design and similar N.
Thats not true. SSRI studies with ~30 people will show a trend toward improvement in the SSRI group that exceeds the placebo group. I think you’re confusing the different statistical measures.
This study showed that expectations and placebo effect were the predictor of micro-dosing success. The blinded group and unblinded group showed completely different results.
> > it makes sense to look at change from baseline for individuals in the various groups rather than just differences in raw scores between treatment groups.
> That’s called cherry picking. Results are always noisy. You could give two groups of people the same tests on different days without any drugs at all and some subset would show “improvement”.
No, GP is talking about a matched pairs design. You look at the difference between the scores of very similar individuals by applying one treatment to each (active and placebo), or, applying both treatments to the same individual (in random order).
Cherry-picking would mean only using scores from selected individuals, whereas matching only emphasizes the difference.
They're not saying you should look at some subset of individuals with positive results, you have misread.
The notion is that the difference between participants can mask the effect of the drug, such that comparing any individual participant to anyone but themselves is improper.
No, why would you claim that?
Claim what? If you go through the results and exclude the individuals who didn’t show the outcome you wanted to see, that’s called cherry-picking. It’s a well-known phrase.
There is a concept of subgroup analysis in studies like these, but you have to be careful about how it’s done and what conclusions are drawn. If you simply select positive results and exclude negative results then even the placebo group would show great success.
This study showed that telling people that they were microdosing was more important for the perceived outcome than the micro dosing itself. In other words, placebo is key to making it work.
> If you simply select positive results and exclude negative results then even the placebo group would show great success.
Where did zosima ask to do that? They mentioned that the variable of comparison should be changes from baseline metrics in treatment group vs changes from baseline metrics in control group. That would be a fair study, and isn't cherry picking.
Did you actually read the methodology? Because what you are saying doesn't really fit the used methodology.
They had all participants on shrooms for 1 week, and on placebo for 1 week (order randomized), and compared the results.
I'm sort of surprised they didn't extract/synthesize psilocybin directly and administer that. Decades ago, I grew a few batches of P. Cubensis. Even amongst mushrooms from the same rice cake, the dosage wildly varies. You could have a "trip" from a tiny mushroom or eat a handful of duds.
It might be so that researchers investigate the common practice of "microdosing" and its effects, not necessarily (just) the effects of psilocybin low dosage. So they tried to closely emulate this practice, as it is done by users in real-life.
But this of course introduces more uncertainty, as you pointed out, so to have any conclusive results a much larger sample group would be needed, I think.
Also I agree with others that comparison with the baseline for each test subject, not just between the test group and control group, would be important.
It would be nice if they were to study the effects of different doses of psilocybin directly. Could feed into possible depression treatments in the future... if somebody is trying to treat depression with psilocybin, they probably want a predictable dose that you can't really get eating mushrooms directly.
I figured it was this as well - the motivation for performing the study is the anecdata from self-reports on microdosing with traditional techniques. I suspect that, if they had seen strong evidence for microdosing here - they would have moved on to investigating the effect in detail.
They just need a large batch of mushrooms and grind it to a powder and weighed out and placed in a pill capsule, much like what I saw back in high school being sold. No taste as it is in a pill capsule and the dose is pretty consistent.
Is psyocybin the only active chemical in mushrooms or is it like Marijuana where other chemicals in it can have some effect too
Psilocybin is not active, but is converted to active psilocin by dephosphorylation when it is digested. Mushrooms also contain some psilocin. There is active research into the effect of other tryptamines in mushrooms, including, baeocystin, norbaeocystin, and norpsilocin, and others.
(note - "in mice")
Psilocin is also present.
One improvement is to take the entire batch and blend it up, so that at least doses from that batch are consistent. Still doesn't help inter-batch consistency for scientific studies, of course.
Same. Most psilocybin research I am familiar with synthesizes psilocybin, in part to be able to exactly control dosage, indeed. But it may also be to avoid dealing with illegal market?
I think this research was not done in the US but in another country (not sure which one?), not sure if research norms or availability or what differ there.
It's interesting that when it comes to cannabis they often do the opposite - that is they give subjects synthetic THC rather than the whole spectrum extract. THC isolate is quite nasty - but the same amount of THC combined with CBD and other cannabinoids can work wonders.
I think there may be that if they isolated psilocybin, they could have missed other compounds that play a part in causing desired effects. Obviously this is a different substance than cannabinoids, but I think when it comes to plants it makes more sense to test it exactly how subjects use it rather than use synthetics.
edit: I hope I didn't cause offence to any mushroom - of course they are not plants, but I hope you get my point.
Apparently, one of the companies actively pursing psilocybin for medicinal purposes has just patented one of the main methods of synthesis. From what I remember from the article that hit HN just last week regarding one of the main chemists for this company, this may be putting off researchers and others from using anything other than the natural mushrooms in their trials, tests, products, etc.
> Even amongst mushrooms from the same rice cake, the dosage wildly varies
This is the main reason with psychoactive mushrooms overall. You can't dose exact via bio material so overdosing happens regular and could be actually harmful.
Would you mind citing a case of harm caused by pharmacological effects of mushroom overdose? My own online research since your post found no such recorded instances, but perhaps we're using different terminology.
I actually cant, my knowledge is anecdotal. When I search around the web, there are articels that stating the same. Here is a (old) reddit thread:
https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/allg3/i_used_lsd_and_... (I see this is anecdotal as well)
Its hard to find serious papers about it because most of the time its due to "abuse" of drugs and (!) mixed consums.
Anyways, I had a friend who was really into mushrooms overall (not only psychoactive ones) and while he was pretty open to drug using he stated multiple times that overdosing can lead to bad trips and so called "hängenbleiben" (I dont now the english term, it means the trip never really stops).
Extracting from shrooms with ethanol is quite consistent, the psilocybin isn't very soluble so after a few days soaking you can be pretty confident that the ethanol has taken up all it can. for microdosing the ethanol probably isn't enough to worry about trying to take it back out of solution, drink .25 oz or so.
(It's strange that we're using the term microdose, even in scientific contexts - prefixes have meanings - it should be called a decidose.)
Anecdotally, I've had a degree of short term success treating my depression with smallish doses of mushrooms, but I've never had the continuing access required for a microdosing regiment.
It'd be nice if the government were willing to come to the table on this, but alas.
That said, every time that I've had a months long lift, it hasn't been a small dose, but an epic dose that often cast me into a night of turmoil.
(Which would make the rigours of double-blind testing completely ineffectual.)
> It's strange that we're using the term microdose, even in scientific contexts - prefixes have meanings - it should be called a decidose.
Not really - its from the Greek for small, rather than a SI prefix in this context. If the suffix were quantitative then you might have a case, but we talk quite happily about microphones and microscopes. Microdose is useful because it is not conditional on a particular regular dose size, we just know it is much lower than usual.
Also, 1 microbe is 1/1000000 of be.
Microbes are actually around 1 micrometer!
Whilst I'd generally hate for a 1 meter bee to exist, it might be worth it just for the nerd joke.
So purely factually, a microbe is only 1/10000th of a bee
> Whilst I'd generally hate for a 1 meter bee to exist
Luckily for you a rare sight - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a4/Sa...
While "micro" means indeed small, many people have the wrong impression that the similarly sounding "macro" must have an opposite meaning to "micro" so many incorrect terms have been coined, e.g. "macroscopic" vs. "microscopic".
In reality, in Ancient Greek the opposite of "micro" was "mega", i.e. "big" (so megameter vs. micrometer was a correct addition to the metric system in 1873, like also the name Micromegas, which was coined by Voltaire in one of his novellas), while "macro" meant "long", not "big".
("macro" is cognate with words from other European languages which mean slim/slender/thin/lean, only in Ancient Greek its meaning has shifted from "slim" to "long", replacing the older word for "long", "dolicho").
That dictionary only records the fact that most English speakers now use the word "macro" incorrectly, which was my point, because they do not know Ancient Greek and they follow some previous English speakers who also did not know Ancient Greek, but that did not stop them to use a Greek word they thought as sounding fancy and whose meaning they attempted to guess, without bothering to look in a dictionary, so they have guessed wrong.
This incorrect use of "macro" in English appears to have started in the second half of the 19th century, when the study of the classical languages in school was already in regression.
The funny thing about prescriptivists is that they don't have a consistent story or makes arbitrary choices.
I don't know any Greek or non-English European languages, but assuming what you said is accurate:
> ("macro" is cognate with words from other European languages which mean slim/slender/thin/lean, only in Ancient Greek its meaning has shifted from "slim" to "long", replacing the older word for "long", "dolicho").
> most English speakers now use the word "macro" incorrectly, which was my point, because they do not know Ancient Greek
Given that the Ancient Greek meaning is not the "original" meaning anyway, is there a reason to assume that the Ancient Greek usage is "correct" and modern English is "wrong"? How long do we have to go back in time, given that most of us don't have time machines?
Also, why would you draw the line between using existing "wrongly constructed" words and creating them? Aren't using words part of the creation process? Why don't you create alternate versions of words that are more correct? Wouldn't you say that those who allegedly created "wrong" words have the same consideration as you do (i.e. if they used the "correct" way to construct new words nobody would understand them)?
Dolicho is still used in Greek-origin word stems today - viz. dolichocephalic
The dictionary records what word means, today, in the english language.
Like everybody else, I also have to use the words with their current meaning, so I use frequently words like "macroinstruction", possibly abbreviated to "macro", or "macroprocessor".
That does not mean that one should not be aware that the creation of such words was based on laziness and ignorance and one should not coin any new words of this series.
> That does not mean that one should not be aware that the creation of such words was based on laziness and ignorance and one should not coin any new words of this series.
You say this, and yet you are writing English and not Proto-Indo-European. Curious!
That approach seems overly prescriptive and is certainly overkill for creation and day-to-day use of non-critical words. For a word to be used widely, it has to go through a process of adoption.
Individuals around the world are still mostly allowed to use (or not) any word they choose. It may look like patchwork to you, but the importance of etymology of a word takes a backseat to its ability to successfully convey meaning.
Language is a living thing, so it's in a constant state of change. A certain class of linguists would even go so far as to say there can be no incorrect use of words :)
What is the difference between "Low Dose" and "Microdose" though? I have heard the specific term Low Dose before.
Generally, a microdose is supposed to be below threshold. In other words, imperceptible. A low dose can be above threshold. This study seems to be testing something most microdose adherents would refer to as a low dose.
Microdose = sub-perceptual dose
Threshold dose = dose at which effects can barely be perceived
Low dose = dose at which effects become definitely perceptible
The people in this study were taking something between a threshold dose and a low dose, given some interpersonal variability.
.5 is definitely a low dose for anyone who has experienced it more than a few times or an actual low dose at least once. Realistically, I'd expect only a first timer could possibly think .5 is imperceptible.
I'm of the belief that it should be called a dose. There are many therapeutics that will make you hallucinate if you ingest too much. We call that an overdose.
While others might call that the point.
I think decidose would be even less accurate. A normal dose is 3g-5g. A microdose is 0.1g-0.2g. That's not a ratio of 10. At least microdose has a widely-agreed on colloquial meaning.
> We investigated the acute and short-term effects of 0.5 g of dried mushrooms on subjective experience, behavior ... and brain activity.
> It'd be nice if the government were willing to come to the table on this, but alas.
They're starting to, although they haven't funded a study on microdosing for depression.
> [October 2021] Johns Hopkins Medicine was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore the potential impacts of psilocybin on tobacco addiction. This is the first NIH grant awarded in over a half century to directly investigate the therapeutic effects of a classic psychedelic
Different country, even more useless government.
Though the progress in the US/Canada makes me think that maybe in 15-20 years NZ can have a referendum and continue with prohibition.
> night of turmoil.
Can you elaborate?
My guess is OP is referring to a bad (or powerful) trip.
Whereas I'd say 'turmoil', is a beautifully-concise word to describe great trips, too.
Hanging out with spider demons at the end of time, that sort of shit.
Have you tried Kratom? I'm by no means recommending it, just curious if you've tried it to combat depression.
As a daily Kratom user, I would not recommend using Kratom for something like depression. You're treating the symptomps at best while cultivating addiction.
Yeah, always best to not fuck around with chemicals that bind to gabba receptors (alcohol, benzodiazepine, kratom). It will give you a hell of a withdrawal if you take high doses. This is why there are alcoholics.
Kratom binds primarily to mu-opioid receptors. It's a bit disingenuous to say it binds to gabba. I mean, I am sure it is true that some alkaloids in Kratom bind to gabba, but that's not the primary interaction.
Where did you read that kratom binds to gaba? I haven't heard that.
Chronic pains. I try to skip days when my pain is better, but those are not very frequent.
Ah, I’m sorry.
Why do you want to change your condition with a thing, when the answer is inside you?
Jeesh, the brain is not allowed to have physical maladies now?
Because searching inside for the answer when my brain keeps popping up with "nice train tracks over there..." doesn't really work for me.
So many addicts in here... You guys need counselling not micro doses.
Addict? No - certainly not to mushrooms.
I have larger infrequent doses, and I'm doing so with decreasing regularity.
Although I guess you'd describe that as the binging form of addiction.
Been doing it for some months on & off, this shit is legit. Altough 0,5g has me tripping so I rarely dose above 100 milligrams.
Get up early, do a workout, take cold shower, meditate and then pop a microdose shrooms, feels great. Microdosing is like steroids for meditation.
Especially helpful for the programmer logic types of people like me, gets you out of your head for some time and helps you connect with your emotions and body.
Yeah, drugs feel great, news at 11. If psychiatry was just a matter of giving people a constant buzz, it would be solved a century ago.
I'm not judging you for wanting to be high all the time, I've been there myself. But be intellectually honest and call it that, at least. Because it's not some kind of psychological panacea, and I wish people would stop implying it is.
And yes, I've tried it. It made me high, but generally I was far less productive than I would be taking stimulants for my ADHD instead.
> And yes, I've tried it. It made me high, but generally I was far less productive than I would be taking stimulants for my ADHD instead.
I had some coworkers try microdosing several years ago.
They were convinced that they were smarter and more productive on those days. Meanwhile, the rest of us could clearly see that they were just operating slower than normal and had a weirdly positive response to even slight achievements. Eventually the illusion was shattered when the rest of us would casually guess when they were microdosing and call them out because they were making obvious mistakes, missing things, or being amazed at benign realizations.
And before anyone asks: Yes, they tried many different doses down to minuscule amounts.
In retrospect, this is actually the least surprising result: That taking a micro-dose of a psychedelic produces a micro-trip.
I have often wondered this about people doing the napping versus sleeping experiment. Euphoria makes you feel like you know so much more than you do.
I know of maybe one or two people who gave themselves cognitive tests during their experience. I don't recall the results but I clearly didn't take them seriously since I'm still unconvinced. I don't know about you guys but I tend to do better if I'm given the same kind of test three or four times. So if I were doing this experiment and my results stayed steady, I'd objectively be losing capacity versus the control.
There's studies on "brain training" apps like Lumosity that tend to show that all you're improving at is the specific test, not the underlying mental capacity like working memory.
And a related anecdote: I once asked my psychologist to do an IQ test on me, mainly out of curiosity. She refused, basically giving the logic you did. We have no reason to believe your IQ is low, or even average, and if we did do a test, and at some future point we needed a test for actual diagnostic purposes(say if I had a stroke or something), it could taint the result.
So I'd say you're right on the money wrt the limited usefulness of doing these neuropsych tests repeatedly. Especially over short periods.
Yeah not sure what the source of this homeopathic type logic is. It's very strange, and applies to basically nothing else. So I'd like some pretty extraordinary evidence before I believe that taking deliberately ineffective doses of anything has any effect. And, good luck producing a dose-response curve...
That's an uncharitable reading. OP is just sharing what works with her/him. Which is ok. From what I understood from your comment, for you it doesn't. Which is ok too, as now you know yourself a bit better. Two personal experiments with very different outcomes. There's no need for moral judgments either way.
I'm not saying her experience is invalid. If it works for her, great. But there is this tendency of microdosing proponents to oversell what is effectively a high(nothing wrong with that, I love getting high) as some sort of profound self-help tool. It's a high. That's fine. Getting high can have positive effects too. Call it that, though.
The paper stated James Fadiman as the source for the characterization of a microdose, it however failed to properly convey his point of view.
I've heard James Fadiman reporting twice that it is 10% of a recreational (1-3g) or therapeutic dose (3.0-3.5g), but certainly not 10% of a heroic dose. This study went with 0.5g which is 10% of what's considered a heroic dose.
The effective dose is considered to be 6mg if psilocybin or 0.6g of dried magic mushroom, thus the amount given in the study is very close to being detectable (and incidently was in most of the cases) which I don't think you can charaterize as a microdose. James Fadiman expressly stated a microdose would be a dose that you couldn't detect and would forget you had taken while going on about your day.
If one is taking 0.2-0.3g of dried magic mushroom this would be, without question, not getting high.
Mushrooms have so much variance that giving range like you did is almost impossible.
During my youth, I had strong trips with .5g and meh one's with a few grams, sure it's not the norm but it's not an exceptional occurrence either.
My experience told me that the stem of the smallest mushrooms are a lot stronger than those of the bigger one but that an heuristic not an hard rule.
If I wanted to microdose psilocin (for which psylocibin is a prodrug), I would order 4-AcO-DMT¹ fumarate (another prodrug for psilocin) from a reputable Canadian chemical supplier. It's almost identical to mushrooms, the difference being that it is predictable and somewhat easier on the digestive system.
depends on your individual sensitivity to psychedelics, 0.2 would be too much for me to go into work, no visuals but a head trip. I also know plenty of people who can take 0.5 and don't feel much.
Bit of a tangent here but I noticed you used "her" instead of the default assumption of "him". Is this a new practice?
Assumption based on the username "EmilyHughes". Otherwise I would have used they/them or maybe a he/him would've slipped through, though I try to avoid that.
I think that's because the OP's handle is "EmilyHughes". Is "Emily" a name that's common for males?
I know some English names can go both ways like Evelyn or Shannon etc, but is Emily one of them?
Emil or Emlyn (Latin and Welsh) are similar male versions.
Does "if it works for you" also go for things like aspirin, antihistamines, antihypertensives, antibiotics, etc? I've never heard anyone say "if aspirin works for you then take it, but it doesn't work for me". I've only heard this kind of thing said for things like homeopathy, astrology, accupuncture, osteopathy, and microdosing, of course. Hence, I'm very skeptical.
[Edit: OK, I've heard people say that aspirin doesn't work for them, but what they meant was that they had pains that were too strong to respond to mere aspirin.]
> Does "if it works for you" > also go for things like > aspirin, antihistamines, > antihypertensives, > antibiotics, etc?
A lot of the time, yes. For example, I have a bad physical reaction to aspirin -- it makes me vomit. I've tried several times over my life, and each time I had the same result. It does not work for me in the common use, plain medical sense of the phrase.
psychoactive drugs are a whole different category. You bring your whole mental baggage with you when you take them, unlike aspirin.
Thank you for replying, but I would like to understand what "mental baggage" is and why it makes a difference. Why doesn't "mental baggage" affect aspirin?
Also, just to be clear, I don't think you're saying that you have to be in a special frame of mind for psychoactive drugs to make a difference. For example, I've been told that homeopathy doesn't work for me because I "don't believe in it", but I'm pretty sure that a sufficient dose of psilocybin would get me just as high as anyone else (modulo tolerance), belief or no belief.
Your prior mental state, past trauma, physical state and comfort, will have a significant impact on how your experience develops.
Any neuroticism can bubble to the surface and you might find yourself obsessing over a bad habit you have instead of enjoying the mystery and pattern of the universe.
Sorry, that sounds too mystical to me and I don't believe in the supernatural. I note you're not the OP though?
The phrase is “set and setting” meaning that it is strongly advised to only take psychedelics when you have a good mindset and a good setting. The thing about psychedelics is that you will have powerful mental imagery during the trip, that’s just how they work. So what is on your mind that day will affect what you think about, and with the power of psychedelics I’m told it could get scary or bad if you’re in a particularly bad mood.
For example I’ve twice taken mushrooms while I was lonely. About 1 gram. In both cases I ended up just feeling an amplified sense of loneliness that was very difficult to handle. Another time, and this wasn’t particularly bad, but I ended up thinking about my parents dying (they’re still alive) and it was a powerful feeling. That was good though, because after that I began to put more effort in to seeing them and spending time with them.
But my point is that the experience is a powerful mental experience that is affected by what is on your mind. So they strongly recommend only doing a trip if you have a good mindset and a good setting to do so. Otherwise wait.
By the way the parent comment is correct. Psychedelics bring up a powerful feeling of connectedness with the universe. You feel like you’re seeing patterns of the matter around you and you feel one with it all. I’m not a mystical person but that’s how I’ve felt on a strong trip.
Thanks for taking the time to explain, but if I understand correctly in the instances you relate, you were taking mushrooms specifically in order to get high, correct?
Whereas the OP (root of the thread) is talking about microdosing, which is, if I understand it correctly, taking drugs in an attempt to not get high, but get other benefits?
As to the "powerful feeling of connectedness with the universe", well, I've been drunk and I found that I loved everybody around me and I felt a strong emotional connection with total strangers. But, I was drunk. It's relaxing, it's disinhibiting, it's fun, it's making yourself deliberately and temporarily mentally impaired, why not? But there's nothing more to it.
In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the defining characteristic of intoxication, in my experience, is of being dumber than usual, which can be suprisingly enjoyable. Certainly not something to be desired as a constant state, though.
I just want to say that “getting high” is a very crude way of describing a mushroom trip. I don’t really take them to have fun. It’s more serious than that. I take them because there are long term mental health benefits when taken with the right set and setting. (Research supports this claim.) When I had those thoughts about my parents dying, it was a subconscious fear of mine coming up from my mind, and it caused me to change my behavior to call and visit my parents more.
So I really don’t see it as “getting high”, and that’s why people call it a trip rather than getting high.
My point about the connectedness is that it’s not mysticism, that’s just how people really feel. Don’t misunderstand those descriptions as the person being more mystical than you. That’s how you’d feel on the right dose of mushrooms too.
the importance of "set and setting" is almost universally known and easily verifiable. I've had terrible trips when stressed out and beautiful revelational ones when in the right frame of mind. shrooms are not as benign as alcohol. you're usually even less in control of your mental state, which can be both amazing and scary
I don't dispute the "set and setting" idea. I am asking why that makes a difference in the therapeutic or otherwise beneficial use of psilocybin and why it doesn't make any difference with other drugs like aspirin.
To clarify, as far as I understand, "set and setting" matters when taking psilocybin to get high, but microdosing is taking psilocybin (or other similar drugs) to very deliberatly not get high.
So what does "set and setting" have to do with microdosing, and why doesn't it matter with aspirin, which also doesn't get you high?
In the context of taking psychoactive mushrooms to get a proper trip, there are the concepts of a good trip, a bad trip, and steering your trip towards the former and away from the latter, based on your thought patterns and emotions (so actively pursuing the intent to have a good trip in your mind).
Now I've never microdosed mushrooms, but it's not hard for me to imagine that this same concept applies, of actively pursuing a good experience, which can steer that experience in a good direction. It will just be at a much smaller scale.
For myself I think of this phenomenon as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy (not meant as a judgement about others) which helps me to keep in mind that I'm the one in control (assuming doses are not excessively high, I think others in this thread call those "heroic doses").
How do you define "psychoactive"?
This is so disingenuous. Psilocybin directly affects levels of different neurotransmitters in the brain. Aspirin is an anti inflammatory.
It's not about disingenuousness, it's about the proper terminology. Caffeine is "psychoactive" yet very few people would say that you need to clear your mental baggage before you start drinking coffee.
It's a difference in the degree of effect. it seems there is some intentional focus on being pedantic and perfunctory.
Anything that influences your psyche in an obvious way.
Isn't Aspirin psychoactive in the same way? I.e. it takes away pain, which influences your psyche in an obvious way.
It's nit psychoactive in the sense that is has any direct perceptible effect on the brain. It reduces inflammation, which can be perceived as less pain indirectly altering your mental state.
Whereas psychoactive drugs generally affect the actual underlying processes in the brain through various interactions with receptor, enzymes, or neurotransmitters.
I hope that distinction makes sense.
You could argue that. there is no clear line of course, but most people would agree that a beer influences them more than aspirin or an antibiothic.
I see. To me, it is not very useful to talk about "psychoactive" substances, since sugar, caffeine, or nicotine are also "psychoactive". I would recommend the term "entheogens" in your original post.
Entheogen is even worse, that specifically means psychoactive drugs used for religious purposes. And guess what: nicotine is an entheogen!
It is quite common for different people have differing responses to medications like aspirin, antihistamines, and antihypertensives. For example my brother and I both have bad seasonal allergies. My brother takes Claritin for his and gets relief from the worse of his allergies when he does. If I take Claritin it doesn't reduce the impact of my allergies to any noticable degree. If I take Zyrtec my allergy symptoms are mostly eliminated.
I think you're right and not all medicine works on everyone, but if one antihistamine doesn't work on you, then another one probably will. Like you say, one works on you, the other doesn't. That seems to be down to genetics, or some kind of biological characteristic, I guess.
But, for example, I was told that homeopathy doesn't work for me because I don't believe in it. And I think what the OP says that it's OK if "it" (in this case, microdosing rather than homeopathy) doesn't work for you then that "is OK too" is something I hear the most not from people who find that, say, aspirin doesn't work for them but ibuprofen, or paracetamol, does; but rather what I hear from people who take a remedy that not only has no effect on others, but has no documented effect on most people and has no clear mechanism of action, other perhaps than the placebo effect (which I understand to be regression to the mean).
So that's why I'm skeptical. With normal medicine, drugs will have an effect on some people or others regardless of whether someone believes they will or not, but with alternative remedies, they will only have an effect on those who believe in them and we can only observe the effect by asking them how they feel (for example, no homeopathic remedy will ever reduce blood pressure).
It's really common, AFAIK, in psychiatry. Try this try that, gotta "find the molecule that works for you, we're all different". I believe that is a common occurrence. In my experience when my general practitioner wanted me to try something, it kinda felt like a shot in the dark as to which one we were gonna try, to be reevaluated at a later time if we should go for another.
Trust me I tried all kinds of drugs and psychedelics are not the kind that get you hooked. Stimulants are especially addictive in my opinion. Psychs are the kind of drugs you say I have enough for a while if you overdo. On top of it they build tolerance immediately.
That's hardly a counterargument. GP said you were high all the time, that's different from being addicted. There is some overlap, depending on the substance, but also significant difference. Think of nicotine, caffeine (addictive, but no high) vs psilocybin (high but arguably not addictive).
you literally can't be high all the time on psychedelics (at least tryptamine-derived psychedelics) because of how quickly a complete tolerance to their effect forms at the 5ht2a receptors
Microdosing isn't supposed to make you high. OP said they were taking /20 of a high dosing. So the assertion of "being high all the time" is sort of insulting.
I don't see how being high is an insult. OP didn't seem insulted to me.
I think incorrectly paraphrasing someone that misleads the conversation is insulting, perhaps that is a personal feeling of my own.
I could argue it's condescending to be insulted on the behalf of someone who's clearly not insulted, but how is this useful? We're all adults here, feelings are boring and irrational and they don't advance the discussion at all.
Can confirm, especially mushrooms. I had one trip on them and what my main take away was: It's exhausting to trip on mushrooms and after 4-5 hours I wanted to be sober again. I'll probably do it again in a few month but for me it's a whole-weekend kind of deal and hardly a party drug
It can be a "party drug" if you dose low, especially if you are chilling at a bar with friends. Just pushes you into a slightly better mood. I'll rather have a microdose with some beers than getting shitfaced drunk, feels subjectively healthier to me.
Of course you could also just stop drinking after a few beers without taking additional drugs.
Of course, a few beers are much worse for you than a microdose of shrooms, so why choose the former?
easier said than done. But you are right of course, that's where you want to go.
my main issue with mushrooms is how nauseous i get -- also, i lose all my appetite for at least 12h (last time, it took 24h for me to be actually hungry again).
are you consuming them on an empty stomach?
what are you eating the day beforehand / how is your diet in general? (like, lots of greasy, heavy food the day before / day of, or more on the lighter, healthier side of things?) this can really impact a body’s response to mushrooms on a gastrointestinal level.
those being more fundamental, I would say - but on top of that, could consider a hot-water infusion with anti-emetic herbs like ginger. tends to be smoother on the GI (provided you haven’t filled your stomach contents as way as well). tends to come on more quickly as well.
something else to consider is that gastrointestinal distress with psilocybin can be an indication of unprocessed emotional material and / or trauma. there’s different ways to work with that, in that context.
Lemon tek ;)
This anecdote has nothing to do with microdosing and is generally applicable to any short-term substance abuse.
I get what you’re saying, but I think the GP may see being less productive as a positive thing (productivity not being a universal value)
This. People need to stop looking for excuses and justification for wanting to experience drugs. I bet 95% percent of them 'missed out' doing it when it was age appropriate, and are just looking to scratch that itch while having a moral justification.
They end up overdoing, and overthinking about it and it all has a bad end.
Uh, so you took a break from your ADHD medication to microdose?
And you claim it is the microdose that made you less productive?
I posit you need to take a microdose with your normal ADHD medication, otherwise the anecdote is meaningless even as a personal reference.
No, I wasn't on medication at the time, couldn't get a script. I was looking for possible replacements, and a few psychedelics(LSD and 2C-B to name a couple) have psychostimulant properties. The idea was to try a few different regimens:
True microdose alone: no noticable effect on concentration, and some worsening.
Subpsychedelic yet strong enough doses to have stimulant effects: significant effect, but working memory was somewhat impaired. Impulsivity also increased.
Various conventional but obscure RC stimulants: some were highly effective, even more so than D-amp or mph. But it wasn't possible to rule out long term cardiotoxic effects like valvulopathy, so I didn't stick to them for safety reasons.
Then I did some limited trials with said stims + a true microcode, this just made me extremely scatterbrained and I quickly discontinued.
Eventually I decided even if I found something, which I had, I couldn't safely use it long term anyway. I cleaned up my act long enough to get real meds.
> And yes, I've tried it. It made me high, but generally I was far less productive than I would be taking stimulants for my ADHD instead.
If it made you high, you didn't microdose.
With even lower dose, no effect was present. See my response to one of the other replies.
Yes, those drugs can't replace SSRI
> Get up early, do a workout, take cold shower, meditate and then pop a microdose shrooms, feels great.
But if you did all of those things without the shrooms you likely would still feel great.
Especially exercise which is scientifically proven to improve wellbeing unlike the shrooms.
sure, it's just the cherry on top on some days. You don't microdose and lay on your couch eating McDonalds, would feel wrong to me. Stacking all the good stuff has a nice synergy.
Does your daily routine change when you microdose? Do you still take the cold shower and meditate and all that regardless of it being a microdose day or not?
I found that when I was microdosing it made me way more mindful and apt to make "good/healthy" choices than normal. I think this is a tremendous benefit but for me very difficult to differentiate from a placebo effect.
No it doesn't - that's my daily routine. I just microdose on some days on top of it.
> Been doing it for some months on & off, this shit is legit.
> Microdosing is like steroids for meditation.
I feel like I see a bit of wanting it both ways from people who like microdosing. There are lots of reports, like in this study, that the practice slightly (but only slightly!) lowers performance in most tests. On one hand, that's a pretty good trade-off as far as psychopharmaceuticals go. On the other hand, that's never how advocates present it. It's never "I'm a little less sharp but a lot happier."
My personal view of the situation is that the traditional view that psychedelics push peoples' mental mindsets away from those that work best with capitalist models of productivity is correct. Stoners really don't make 'good workers' (though a good worker could still gain a much needed respite by getting a little stoned here and there). But actually that is good! A drug that had mild side effects and allows you to be released from the productivity-focused conditioning of our work-culture is a really useful tool. You just shouldn't focus your advocacy on the idea that these drugs should be promoted on the off chance they increase productivity: because the mean case is not going to.
Edit: A clearer way to state what I mean is - occasional stoners probably do make more balanced workers - but they probably don't do their best work while they are stoned (or micro-stoned) and trying to insist they do seems unlikely to be the argument that decriminalized psychedelics.
I recommend dosing before your workout, I enjoy my long runs a lot more on micro/threshold dose of CBD or acid.
I recommend dosing before your workout, I enjoy my long runs a lot more on micro/thresh
Eh, just sounds like you have a good routine going, based on the study results you could probably skip the microdosing and achieve the same performance.
> Been doing it for some months on & off, this shit is legit
The linked study seems to contradict you:
>> According to our findings, low doses of psilocybin mushrooms can result in noticeable subjective effects and altered EEG rhythms, but without evidence to support enhanced well-being, creativity and cognitive function. We conclude that expectation underlies at least some of the anecdotal benefits attributed to microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms.
Lack of strong evidence is not strong evidence of lack. Subtle effects like "well-being, creativity, and cognitive function" can be quite hard to track, and there are confounders galore.
> We conclude that expectation underlies at least some of the anecdotal benefits attributed to microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms.
That’s the key point. This person expects it to work so it works. They’re not adding it to their Morning Productivity Hacks Routine because they think it doesn’t work.
I think this is saying that microdosing is mainly placebo effect, and otherwise doesn’t do much. This makes sense. All these participants took full dose psychedelics at some point, and thus had very strong associations.
So far, as far as I know, that seems to be the prevailing scientific opinion, i.e. microdosing seems to be about as effective as placebo (at least microdosing of psilocybin).
I think the point of differentiating between the blinded and unblinded groups was to show that placebo alone does not account for the effects of microdosing.
I see the appeal of microdosing, but to me it renders similar to the kick you might get out of rebelliously sipping a pocket-flask at work. You get the mental boost of "letting loose" while impaired just below the radar.
This is a common fallacy perpetuated by people who have only experienced the alcohol drug.
Microdoses of psychedelics are not impairing. On the contrary, they can improve performance, especially in abstract problem solving.
This study doesn't bear that out, nor have any other placebo-controlled trials.
Also, I've experienced about 40 different psychoactive drugs, including both micro and megadoses of psychedelics. And my experience tracks with GP in that it does cognitively impair you. Maybe don't make blanket statements about people you disagree with, it doesn't make your argument look any stronger.
Erm, define "impairment". Yes this study notes reduced performance in some areas (but the authors acknowledge plenty of weaknesses and explanations in their discussion). However, increases in something like "creativity" might reduce e.g. verbal fluency, while increasing "performance" for artists, or increasing insights when problem solving in many disciplines.
Well, to look for impairment at any specific task, you want to just do that task, of course.
I agree there's really no meaningful concept of "general impairment" unless you're talking about something more extreme like a brain disorder or heavy alcohol intoxication with global involvement leading to something like a coma or gross movement disorder.
These various neuropsych tests try to test something as specific as possible. Working memory for instance. Their development is a complicated field all on its own. And this is psychology, so it's good to keep the reproducibility crisis in mind and adjust one's credences accordingly.
There's a really cool painter whose name I forget who mainly does self portraits while under the effect of various substances. The one where he huffed computer duster for instance,is just a few meaningless lines on a mostly white canvas. That's a pretty good example of global impairment right there. And there's also sorts of paintings on psychedelics, showing varying degrees of visual impairment. Really recommend googling the guy if you want a very visceral way of visualising the various impairments brought on by psychoactive drugs.
This is becoming an unfocused rant so I'll cap it off here I guess.
There are definitively a number of artists that say they work better with alcohol. "impairment" would be defined as something that increase risk of reduce performance, as in, people who drink alcohol has a higher risk of having their driving skill reduced compared to those who don't have alcohol in their blood. Such statement doesn't exclude the possibility that alcohol may increase driving ability compared to base line, only that the variance is higher and thus risk.
A lot of artists on the autistic spectrum have stated they’re not ”normal” if they don’t start their day with a drink.
This aligns with my experiences. Especially for me, how low my productivity was during the come down, which could sometimes last a week or four!
How do you know you wouldn't have felt the same about a placebo?
Fuck Brah, have you taken psychedelics or other hard drugs? The comedown feeling where you nervous system feels on fire and your skin feels tight it unmistakable for me. I might possibly feel like that from a placebo, the placebo effect can be very tricky and you kind can play tricks.
But I’d say 99% chance no. I’d know the difference.
This is obviously talking about doses closer to mega dose than micro dose. Although as time went on, even small doses that wouldn’t get me much of a buzz would still ruin me for weeks afterwards.
Perhaps people are different in this regard.
Now we have two blanket statements.
I'm not sure what blanket statement you're referring to. Please be specific.
>I've experienced about 40 different psychoactive drugs
That is insane
How is your brain not fried
I didn't say it wasn't :)
I jest, but mostly I took reasonable precautions and stuck to things I was reasonably sure weren't harmful, or at least toxic. I've had some very bad times with the synthetic cannabinoid, though, and I don't wanna go into it other than to say: I was hella lucky not to have my brain fried. Happy to say I've gained a healthier relationship to drugs since then.
Well if all on one weekend it might be but over a sufficient amount of time it probably, maybe, has less of a impact as having had 40 nights out on a different alcoholic beverage ;)
Perhaps the ”this is your brain on drugs” propaganda was just that, propaganda?
Apparently not, according to this study at least.
And according to several other top level comments with anecdotes.
Participants were required to bring their own psilocybin mushrooms. Probably because it can be expensive and difficult for researchers to get obtain and administer pharma-grade psilocybin.
The dose was 0.5g of dried Cubensis mushrooms. Usually a microdose is 0.1-0.2g.
All the participants were healthy volunteers. There may be more noticable effects in people with depression or anxiety disorders, etc. Consider that antidepressants often have no effect in healthy volunteers.
>The dose was 0.5g of dried Cubensis mushrooms. Usually a microdose is 0.1-0.2g.
Precisely. This experiment had nothing to do with microdosing. Half a gram is a light dose but it is definitely inebriating.
We need better terms for differentiating low doses and true microdosing. Half a gram is certainly a low dose, but I'd expect most people to feel at least some high.
> These changes were accompanied by reduced EEG power in the theta band, together with preserved levels of Lempel-Ziv broadband signal complexity.
Sounds more like a specs of a DSL modem than a psychiatry paper. I certainly didn't expect to see Lempel-Ziv mentioned in a context other than compression.
> half a gram doses of cubes.
I don't think the studies designers really thought this one through.
Agree, does seems high.
0.5g of dried cubes is more so a "museum dose". Not visibly impairing for me, but certainly can feel something.
0.3g is about the ceiling for a microdose of dried cubes, and even then, that's a touch high for most people.
If you think the dose is too high, yet they found no significant effect compared to placebo, what would you expect would happen at a _lower_ dose?
0.5 grams of p. cubensis is a noticeable dose. Its not a microdose by any means, and usually will result in some impairment.
Its about what I'd take if I wanted to enhance a visit to a museum or art gallery, or music production.
Its not what I'd take and try do a day of work.
It's very difficult to dose mushrooms properly, in real world, content of psilocybin in a particular bag of mushrooms may vary by a factor of 5 or more, plus it decays at speed hard to predict. Even proper taking of mushrooms is quite unpredictable - you can be blown away or hardly feel anything - and microdosing is always harder. Personally i don't like mushrooms for that reason. If you could eat more if the original amount turned insufficient that would be OK, but psychodelics just don't work that way.
Based on available literature, 0,5 grams of dried mushrooms is definitely not a microdose.
Do mushrooms make you write incoherent ramblings on Facebook about how you are God and how everyone else is stuck in the matrix? Because I have 3 different friends who all started doing that after dabbling in psychedelics
Your friends are doing their best to connect with others and share their newfound perspective using whatever crude tools are available to them. Be kind.
Psychedelics give you a new map into reality. If nobody teaches you how to read the map, it's easy to get lost or misread it. Integrating a bunch of different maps can be very challenging.
Charitably, what they probably mean is that if we model god as the sum total of all experiences and all things, then it can be said that we are all aspects of divinity.
The tree recognizes itself as a tree and as part of the forrest.
Playing into and encouraging other people's delusions isn't helping them.
Denying people's experiences and calling them delusions isn't helping them.
Have you tried it? They're pointing at something here that all of humanity has tried to point at.
I'm a very strident atheist and even I would claim that I have "found god" while high on mushrooms. And you and I both happen to be "it".
I'm not pointing at the institutional god. But I end up using the institutional words, because it's hard to find other words that describe it properly.
Alan Watts is the closest I've found that describes it without using religious phrases.
There is something to be said for waiting until you're 25 to do this stuff. Let the brain form all the way first. I think the last study I saw on marijuana linked most of the worst effects to starting while still a teenager.
The logistical problem of getting access to these experiences if you wait until well after college is not insurmountable (especially with THC, today) but it definitely seems more like a project than just showing up on a Friday night to your extended social group.
Poor Paul Stamets ('the' mushroom guy of this era). From his writing it seems like half the people who want to talk to him want him to hook them up with psychedelics. It's hard to tell if he's playing up that ratio or playing it down. His standing answer is "I don't do that, I can't help you." He also mentions that the DEA has made him aware that they are aware of his existence.
I would certainly hope that the DEA is aware of his existence, as the DEA granted him a license to grow Schedule 1 "narcotics".
“That led to being covered by a DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] license to study psilocybin active mushroom species. So, I specialized in the taxonomy of those species, and then, because of the cultivation skills that I gained, I branched out into growing edibles and medicinals, and my mother was much happier.”
I’ve seen the observation that psychedelics evoke a sense of spirituality in people. I wonder if this is how people cope with that feeling of spirituality if they don’t participate in any organized religion?
The last time I took mushrooms with a friend they tried to talk me into joining them in worshiping Satan. Maybe you're onto something.
it depends, of course. to experience a transpersonal / “spiritualized” angle into reality can be deeply challenging for non-religious, non-spiritual, or atheist folks.
or it can feel quite curious, new, refreshing, even liberating.
or anything else along that spectrum.
It actually really does show you a „different reality“. It has different effects on different people, I assume. For me, it was quite eye-opening, in that it made me stop using cigarettes for example. But for others, it leads to those strange thoughts of living in the matrix or something
The perceived effects of psychedelics can be very strong. That is why it's recommended to take them with a professional, so as not to become delusional, e.g. being a god.
However, the effects of even a single trip can be quite profound and life changing.
That "god" thing is often misunderstood. If we assume that humans are somehow connected, by quantum entanglement in their brains or whatever, then mushrooms make this connectedness apparent by muting the link to the body motor complex. In other words, that "god" is the union of all humans, and currently it's undergoing, for its own reasons, a severe form of schizophrenia when its big consciousness is split into a few billions small consciousnesses.
As far as I know it is a possible side effect of psychedelics indeed
i mean.. maybe they're right?
No. Schizophrenia does. Probably a few other things.
Skimming the abstract, my eye catched a mention of the "Lempel-Ziv". I know it's a name of algorithm used in early loseless file archivers (later replaced by Lempel-Ziv-Welch, which is used today in GIF image compression). Imagine my surprise learning that part of this algo is used now in biomedicine to measure complexity of brain activity. Truly, one never knows where things are gonna end up.
Anecdotally in the past I have felt major differences in my mood right after and over the next few months since after taking mushrooms containing psilocybin (liberty caps locally picked growing in nature).
The quantity was anything but microdoses though. Each time I had them the amount ranged from 6x to 10x individual dried caps (over a period of 4-5 hours each time).
I'm not sure about its impact on my creativity though, but it sure did not impact negatively.
It's not clear what you mean here?
I've taken magic mushrooms quite a few times, and it definitely had an impact on negativity right after and for many weeks.
For me, negativity was down regulated.
This might not be true of everyone's experience though.
Since it wasn't clear; I noticed a clear positive impact on my mood but did not notice any measurable positive gains in creativity (nor any negative impacts).
The TL;DR essence from the abstract:
> The reported acute effects were significantly more intense for the active dose compared to the placebo, but only for participants who correctly identified their experimental condition. [...] For all other measurements there was no effect of microdosing except for few small changes towards cognitive impairment. According to our findings, low doses of psilocybin mushrooms can result in noticeable subjective effects and altered EEG rhythms, but without evidence to support enhanced well-being, creativity and cognitive function. We conclude that expectation underlies at least some of the anecdotal benefits attributed to microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms.
> but only for participants who correctly identified their experimental condition.
So the creatures who can take flight in a light breeze are the ones who can sense the breeze. That sounds about right.
> but without evidence to support enhanced well-being, creativity and cognitive function. We conclude that expectation underlies at least some of the anecdotal benefits attributed to microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms.
Well, clearly far-fetched from original research goals, and from what it means to creativity in particular.
In my experience, creative periods require a sustained abstainment of other info sources combined with a self-stimulating force and (sometimes) a controlled use of mind-altering substances (from coffee to full-dose mushrooms). So asking for creativity improvements on a small-sample, scope-constrained study is way too far-fetched from that.
Microdosing is great but not for everyone. It can actually increase your anxiety if you take too high a dose. Personally, I take a micro dose of LSD every other Friday, drink a cup of coffee and hit the gym. It does wonders. And definitely not addicting.
What's your dose and what are some of the benefits you get?
You're lucky you can repeatedly trust your source, and their measuring skills.
If you switch to RC there very reputable vendors in the EU
I had some positive results with microdosing. I used the fadiman protocol for a whole month, ingesting about 0,1g - 0,2g self grown dried mushrooms, on an on-off-off-on basis.
Am I reading this right, from the abstract:
> The reported acute effects were significantly more intense for the active dose compared to the placebo, but only for participants who correctly identified their experimental condition.
Does that 'correct identification' go both ways, psilocybin & placebo? If so I don't think they claimed a strong enough result!
Some people may also just be more sensitive to serotonergics, therefore it's simply easier for them to identify
But regardless of what enabled them to identify it - even if just a 50:50 guess, but a correct one - thinking they were on it (vs. thinking they were not) made it a significant enhancement?
That seems like a 'bigger' result to me than what's claimed. (Which is why I'm not sure I'm understanding it correctly.)
It is ambiguously worded, I agree.
I'm on mobile so I've only cursorily scanned the article. Looking at subfig E in figure 1, it seems that differences between active and placebo were minimal. I haven't checked their stats relating to those differences.
So I think the effect the authors found does seem small.
However, usual caveats: very small study, etc. I'd want to review the reliability and sensitivity of the questionnaires they used. Subjective experiences are of course difficult to capture reliably.
Having said that, and considering I've only scanned this briefly, it seems like a well designed study - for what it's doing. Adding the quantitative elements of EEG etc is nice.
The discussion section is good, the authors acknowledge several possible weaknesses and explore explanations.
So overall, looks interesting, but it's not definitive (and the authors don't claim it is). It's not a refutation of microdosing, it just adds to the literature, and perhaps offers things for future researchers to explore/control.
You could see it that way. More intuitive to me though is that the ones who guessed correctly, had a stronger subjective effect, therefore were more successful in guessing. Does that make sense?
I hate these "two seemingly valid and contradictory ways of looking at it" things.
and isn't that contradicting the premise of using "sub-perceptual" doses?
Note: the 2021 preprint version https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.11.30.470657v1.... was also extensively discussed, so that is why this might sound familiar.
The study participants tried psilocybin (mushrooms) for microdosing (low dosing actually); but it seems to me that the more common practice is to use LSD for microdosing, at least according to the references #1,2,3 in the paper.
Psilocybin has truly saved my life. I micro 200-250mg of homegrown every few days.
It improves your mood, which quiets down the internal critic always shouting at you that what you’re creating is a waste of time. That’s probably the actual most important benefit.
Exactly, from personal experience I would say the effect of proper micro dosing is very similar to the benefits that experience meditators report when asked
I have been interested for quite some time to dabble with psilocybin but just haven't yet had the chance with buddies(outside of a work related traveling event) to do so.
I absolutely refuse to try anything like this outside of an environment I have some level of control in or trust in the people around me(not the general public I.E: Bars, clubs, Vegas, etc).
Any advice on what to avoid for a first timer from any experienced person here?
The ideal would be to have someone with you during the trip that you are very comfortable with, since whatever emotion you might feel will be amplified. Even in that case tho, that person should know what to do, a little reading about how to trip sit would be the ideal, since for example asking “hey are you okay? You’re acting very weird” would be a bad idea.
In case you don’t have such person, for you first experience I would say that doing alone is better than doing with bad people or in crowded places. I would suggest tripping in a place you are comfortable with, with lots of blankets and pillows. For the first time I would avoid going outside, because even tho nature is astounding on trip, as a first time it could be a bit overwhelming. Prepare music that you like and gives good vibes to you. I personally prefer music without lyrics as those can be distracting. If you have a dog or a cat, know that they might act weird towards you, like if they are kind of scared. This is the setting.
The most important thing is that a trip is kind of like a roller coaster, once you get on it, you can’t get off until it finishes, meaning that you have to be open minded and ready to see and feel whatever your mind will show you. I personally like to think about people that I love in my life, and I explore the feeling inside of my body. This is the set.
If you are feeling like you are entering a thought loop, or negative thoughts, changing the setting (so changing music, going to another room) could help. At some point you will need to go to the bathroom. Be ready, the experience will be very weird, because the bathroom is usually smaller than other room, you are naked, and there are mirrors. For your first time I would suggest to avoid looking at yourself in the mirror, as the experience of seeing yourself aging or morphing could be quite disorienting.
If you need any more info there are subreddit that provide great source for everything you need. Have a safe trip!
Queue up your favorite good-mood music, or a just a tripping playlist from Spotify or similar. Music has a huge impact on trip feel for me, and I can normally adjust out of a difficult trip with a music change.
Stay in a safe place, with a trust friend that is sober(a "tripsitter"). And start low, 1.75g dosage or so.
Yes, go find an experienced person to do it with. Microdoses are fine to do alone, but anything beyond that and you will want a guide.
It can be an unpredictable experience, even in the right setting, so that is why traditionally, entheogens are always consumed in the presence of a shaman/guide.
Edit: How to find them? Go make friends with some artists or hippies. The pizza delivery guy with a crystal necklace? Ask him to hang out :)
From personal experience: Phone notifications, doorbells, cameras, recording or healthcare equipment, people with bad vibe
I would say that if you want to maintain your cognitive function at peak efficiency your best bet is to not do anything that has a chance to affect it negatively, like doing drugs.
An "experienced person" in this case will not help you because it means someone who's been doing drugs for a while and there is at least a chance that their cognitive function is impaired and that you shouldn't trust their judgement.
I haven't tried psychedelics yet for the same reason. The people I know who offer them to me don't show any level of care or responsibility when it comes to dosing themselves. For example, they'll buy drugs from people they've never met before, random people they run into in bars and clubs. I haven't yet personally met anybody who takes drugs who is as careful as I would like to be.
As an aside, I like to quote this passage from Terry Pratchett's The Carpet People:
Other shamen ate the yellow-spotted mushrooms that were found deep in the hair thickets and said things like: ‘Hiiiiyahyahheya! Heyaheyayahyah! Hngh! Hngh!’ which certainly sounded magical.
Pismire said things like, ‘Correct observation followed by meticulous deduction and the precise visualization of goals is vital to the success of any enterprise. Have you noticed the way the wild tromps always move around two days ahead of the sorath herds? Incidentally, don’t eat the yellow-spotted mushrooms.’
Which didn’t sound magical at all, but worked a lot better and conjured up good hunting. Privately some Munrungs thought good hunting was more due to their own skill. Pismire encouraged this view. ‘Positive thinking,’ he would say, ‘is also very important.’
Don't eat the yellow-spotted mushroom, folks. I guess it's not trendy to say it, but the magical shamen have had one too many.
Hi. Have I recently posted a comment that used offensive language like "pure bullshit" in response to one of your comments, or have I in some other way shown disrespect to you?
The fact that they are quoting a children's fiction story that pokes fun at shamanistic cultures in response to a serious topic doesn't help their cause either.
You really think Pratchett was aimed solely at children or really had it in for shamanism? Did you ever read Small Gods?
Well I hope you haven’t been driven totally away from HN. Some of us enjoy your content.
No, I think I've had enough of petulant manchildren who wear their ignorance like a badge of honour, and prefer to die on a hill of pedantry rather than acknowledge a mistake.
I don't know what I was doing logging on here with a feminine user name anyway. I had it coming.
TL;DR (via GPT3): Microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms did not have any positive effects on well-being, creativity, or cognitive function. The only noticeable effects were subjective changes and altered EEG rhythms.
What did you add as an input to GPT-3 and what was your prompt? Have you considered some smaller models like Longformer or Big Bird with fine-tuning on research papers?
> The reported acute effects were significantly more intense for the active dose compared to the placebo, but only for participants who correctly identified their experimental condition
I find attempts to study psychedelics with placebo control kind of comical. The positive effects are not due to a chemical change, they are due to a direct subjective experience . It's like trying to placebo control the effects of reading a good novel or seeing a sunset.
But I guess this does help to dispel the similarly comical idea that a completely non-psychoactive dose of psychedelics can be beneficial.
"Experience" is a thing represented by chemical markers in the brain however. It's all electrochemical in the end. And I have heard first hand stories directly from people who used to use the stuff that it absolutely changed their personalities, i.e. brain damage which is a chemical effect.
How does one even get contacts to consider this (in a safe manner)?
One thought about this and I'd actually consider myself fairly in tune and at peace with my inner self already, so I'd be curious to see how it could help me deal with some of my ruts I get in from time to time.
Alcohol definitely isn't helping
I know my posts on Hacker News are like a broken record, but have you considered talk therapy (if it’s available to you)?
“Rut” and “alcohol” are two words that set off depression alarms. Medication and therapy — or if you’re opposed to medication, just therapy — help. I know from experience.
Edit: Not to be down on psychedelics at all —- I’m optimistic about the role of psychedelics in future depression treatment. It’s just that nearly everything about dosing for depression is anecdote and more mundane tools work in a large number of cases.
Cheers, I appreciate that.
I have had therapy over the years, but one thing I was told was that it couldn't be depression because it's so infrequent. I'm more likely just getting sad at times.
Most of the time I'm pepper and optimistic, etc. I might just have a minor burn out from work or I start feeling like I'm not doing enough. Meditation has helped, along with going to the gym, but some times I burn out from that too like boredom (from doing the same thing over and over), and I don't know why
Go to shroomery.org - your best bet is to learn how to grow them. It's an awesome hobby in general, and you can grow non-psychedelic mushrooms as well if you just want to get the hang of it.
https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/2192202... isn't a terrible place to start.
If you live in Canada, and specifically in Vancouver, there are de facto legal operating dispensaries for psilocybin . If you don't live there, but live in the USA, some of said shops will ship products to USA. Now, I don't know if this hits your threshold for "safe", but seeing as the doses involved are quite low, one could argue that it would be safer than, say, starting a new (SSRI) antidepressant if you take into account long-term effects , side-effects, etc .
I'm in US, so that's all I can speak to. Psilocybin spores are legal to purchase in most states, though growing/possession are illegal. Once you have the spores, you just grow your own. Techniques(teks in the magic mushroom world) like PF Tek and Uncle Ben's Tek are pretty easy. Uncles Ben's is especially popular, because it takes out the sterilization step.
Looks like they found no change on a wide variety of tests, like measurements of openness and creativity, except for an array of subjective, psychedelic experience questions like "Sounds influences things I see", "I see distorted shapes", etc.
The only thing I got from microdosing shrooms was a near death encounter with a bus. :)
Can you elaborate please?
Assumedly, they nearly walked in front of a bus after microdosing(?) shrooms. If not, ELABORATE PLEASE.
yes, this. my awareness was somewhat diminished. but then again I had no proper way to really accurately microdose - so I might have taken too much. trying to accurately dose a natural product like mushrooms is rather difficult.
The N of this study is 34, but it’s probably multiple observation. How do you calculate power in this case? Is it just based off N, in which case, seems low…
Power analyses for repeated measures designs are usually done with Monte Carlo simulations: you generate fake but plausible data sets with a hypothesized effect size, then analyze these data sets and count how often the effect is detected.
I agree that N=34 seems low. The effect would have to be quite large to be detected and there may be a risk of Type M (magnitude overestimated) and Type S (incorrect sign) errors. The results should therefore be interpreted in the light of a power analysis.
Statistical analysis exploratory studies tho get some ballpark numbers. They didn't even estimate power in this case. If you have to rely on statistics to observe effect, the effect is small.
The most likely biases and noise comes from experimental design and other factors related to the study.
In exploratory science doing two different studies with N=30 is much better than doing one study with N=60.
Considering micro-dosing either helps you or at worst it has no bad effects I don't see why you wouldn't try it if you had access to it and the legal aspect didn't hinder you.
Personally and subjectively it did help me, I wasn't depressed but it did help with creativity and learning, I gained like 150-200 points on chess.com just from playing and reviewing games (rarely)
To all those down-voting, I'm sorry but am I to believe n=20 studies when there's a huge replication crisis or hundreds of people who took the risk, tested it on their own and reported on it? I'm not saying studies are useless but just basing your beliefs on small studies like this is crazy to me.
sounds like a temporary anti-depressant, but a bad lifestyle choice
> but a bad lifestyle choice
Care to elaborate why?
Did you read the paper?
"However, we observed a trend towards impaired performance in some cognitive tasks (i.e., attentional blink and Stroop)... future research should also explore the potential impact of microdosing on aspects of human physiology that could compromise its long-term safety."
How hard is it to come off it?
The only thing you quoted is the tudy saying that:
1) Their dose got the participants a little high still (and thus impaired cognitive tasks)
2) Their study did not investigate long-term safety
Why would you jump to the conclusion that it is hard to come off of it?
1) that's a prolonged effect, not just mid-high
2) exactly, the long term effects on a lifestyle are unknown
3) i'm asking, not jumping. personal experience and lack of long term studies
Look into Reckful if you have any interest in this subject
I have a feeling the hedonic treadmill is to blame.
Blame for what
here even spores are illegal....
I wish these academic articles also had TLDR section
That's the purpose of the Abstract.
> According to our findings, low doses of psilocybin mushrooms can result in noticeable subjective effects and altered EEG rhythms, but without evidence to support enhanced well-being, creativity and cognitive function. We conclude that expectation underlies at least some of the anecdotal benefits attributed to microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms.
You mean, the abstract?
Thanks for all the great info. EROWID was long before the decriminalization trend, the "right thing" to check before you trip\try any new subtance people might use for psychoactive effects. And many (including "heroic-to-crazy" sounding combinations) pharm-and-farm\forrest caffeine+substanceX etc. Look for "trip reports" section, if its still in business.
And any geek who had The Way Things Work on the (rents'?) bookshelf as a kid would get a kick out of PIHCKAL and TIHKAL, the father of "officially done right" psychoactive synthetic experimental chemistry's two compendious ½-&-½ encyclopædiæ\tomes, each split down the middle: first the detailed, timestamped group dose controlled-environment reports with friends and colleagues (maybe mainly fellow accademicians from Cal. Berkeley), then the terse Chemistry-journal style synthesis-procedure lab-8nstr7ction recipe database and huge index of subtance-nicknanes.
I lived illegally for a time in a closet-sized office I rented in OAKtown; chill RockerChik[tm] who did the same down the hall told me about the guy's public funeral and his last gift (of which she accepted a dose to take home and try).
And although probably already discussed on yc, the only other mass-market book I've ever read the didn't pander or condescend to the reader by expecting technical symbols to scare us away is essentially all of the (central-core + a bit of stringstuff) math-and-physics base-knowledge you need, from prehighschool fractions through exterior\Clifford Algebra tensor calculus and 1-forms and things, to be able to attack the real literature like a grad student. Diagrams every other page or so, including his own invention of graphic symbols which is really the only reasonable (visible notational) way to manipulate general Tensors. Flip through it and all that exotic\fancy\mysterious mathematics formula gobbledygook is dense and enticing for kids who haven't seen multiple and path integrals and PDEs before, but the explanation is well written an holds your hand to actually bring you through it. It's like 2⅜+inches of trade-paperback goodness 1st 580?\850? or so pages mainly math and relativity, rest of 1300pp or so of mainly quantum physics and cosmology, by the guy (Nobel in Phy.,PhD was math) who had the first famous bet with Hawking, wasn't it? Sir Roger (Penrose). Only complaints: stupid 1st title word, and overambitious promise RE posting solutions for the ton of easy-through-WTF-level excersise footnotes. Great for every mathscience-nonaverse 6+yo competent English reader on your list who thinks actual details scare only sissies, and if nec. you can always put tl;dr here: I personally recommend those who can afford c.$US 20(newish) to buy and READ\BROWSE\REREAD\SHARE ppbk "The Road to Reality" BY [now Sir] Penrose, Roger (RE:pre-Higgsmass edition)
You might want to lay off the psychoactives a bit..
I wish people better understood that their advocacy of and for drugs is and was pushed by the CIA to essentially deconstruct and damage a society that would otherwise organize and oppose the will of the ruling class. There is an interesting book that was recently released, The Poisoner in Chief that is a good introduction, even though it seems it is meant to also be a bit of a rehabilitation of a horrible human, Sidney Gottlieb.
The history of the CIA's acquisition and use of psychedelics and other drugs is detailed in 'Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion' (1994)
Certainly the CIA was trying to use psychedelics as interrogation tools and perhaps as part of a 'dirty tricks campaign' (secretly dosing politicians before speeches, etc.), and there was a lot of collaboration with various university psych departments in terms of research (students, prison inmates, etc. as research subjects) as well as in prostitution houses. This is all well-documented.
However, it really escaped from their control and had unexpected side effects. A good case example is that of Frank Olson, a bacteriological warfare specialist who was collaborating with the CIA in the MK-ULTRA program. After being dosed in a 'training session' with CIA members, he had apparent pangs of conscience (early 1950s) and wanted to quit the program. This was a period when the USA had an active biological weapons program, built in part on research results taken from the Japanese biological weapons program, and may have been testing biological weapons in North Korea as well. (This was all later exposed in the 1970s Congressional hearings, but at the time was top secret). It's quite likely that the CIA assassinated Frank Olson while claiming his death was a suicide, out of fear he would reveal all this to the public.
Hence, I doubt the central theme of your argument - psychedelics can have a wide variety of effects on individuals, and tend to be feared by authoritarians because of these unpredictable effects (abandoning religious belief or faith in authority is not an uncommon result). In addition, drug use is something humans have gravitated towards in every known society throughout recorded history, there's no need to invoke secretive government agencies and hidden motives to explain it.
Are you suggesting the CIA pushed lsd/shrooms to alter society in a way that was beneficial for the ruling class, or they pushed society in a direction to ban those substances to keep people from organizing and becoming a ruling class? Or something else?
If you think about it, a lot of the Silicon Valley advancement of the chip and subsequent computer revolution was driven by the early lsd/shrooms advocates. In a way they did become the new ruling class.
Hardly. Negotiations are continuing. Over in China, Ma was cut down to size. Earlier we had Gates' congressional woes before he found philanthropy Jesus, and Jeff's dirty laundry was all over internet. The last time something like this happened was with Oil. Rockefeller was integrated. A couple of centuries before that bankers were integrated. (There was a "glorious revolution" and that's what got serious European/English imperialism going.)
Issue with tech titans is that unlike oil, it (software) threatens to directly displace finance. So oil and finance do tussle ("who runs barter town?") but there are synergies. But finance is likely a subset of an abstract notion of 'software'. Lords of software threaten to displace those of finance. (If we lived in a SciFi world, Apple would be secretly building an armed forces with their mountain of cash by now :)
>that would otherwise organize and oppose the will of the ruling class
Eh, perhaps that was their motivation, but I'm not at all convinced that would have been the result. Though illegal, Psychedelics have been widely available for decades. Those results have failed to materialize.
Any links to support this theory?
Maybe the trendy hallucinogenic microdosers should try microdosing food, water, air, speech and constantly being the center of attention. It just isn't interesting giving credibility to a new ignorant generation rediscovering what was known in some cases 60-80 years earlier, in some cases thousands of years earlier. Rediscovery is not interesting. It is embarassing.
> and constantly being the center of attention.
Microdosing that one alone would bring enormous benefits... "Ego death" is basically an axiom on all doctrines promising more fulfilling, meaningful lives.
Yes, psilocybin helps a lot on microdosing it... One-point anecdata.
i find the notion of ego-death to often be quite misdirective.
folks are getting taught that the source of their problems is their “ego”, ignoring that we need a functioning ego to survive. it’s not something to be demonized or eliminated. rather, an opportunity to integrate that part of ourselves and our relationship to it, including any stories that we may be telling ourselves about the inherent pathology of ego.
please note i am using the term “ego” in a psychoanalytic sense, not in the pop-connotative sense of displays of narcissistic arrogance.
I think 'death' is a misnomer here. It doesn't kill it so much as force you to acknowledge and face it.
I'd say it 'dies' during the trip as it is ripped from you. In my experiences however it took quite a dose to achieve that.
To me the folks warning to be careful about stress and things you avoid facing when tripping hard are dead-on.
Mushrooms have a way of cleansing the mind and soul, but that's if you are lucky,and you'd best be ready for it.
Usually it's just some cool visuals and good feelings.
embarassing for whom?